Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How do people get here?

I don't have what you would call a tremendous amount of traffic. I have some regulars and a generally increasing number of one and done type people who meander in from Google. I also get some regular traffic from "Why don't we get drunk and blog?", but unless I ever hit the top 25 over there I don't think that is going to increase too terribly much. If Paul Katcher ever linked to me my traffic would really explode.

Right now the #1 traffic driver to No 1 of Consequence is searching: Just end the season

This phrase holds a special place in hearts of Jets fans around the world as it is usually uttered somewhere between weeks 2 and 3 in the NFL season and repeated like a dogmatic mantra until the merciful end of week 17. Then the mantra is something along the lines of, "how will they screw up the draft this year?"
I also receive many hits to my Debbie Cole post because everyone seems to like a feel good story of a garbage person giving back life changing money because it is the right thing to do.
I get a LOT of hits for people searching tilapia recipes.
I quote Aaron Sorkin a lot (won't be linking to all the posts, but I always give him credit, so if you are interested use the search function in the upper left.) and that always brings people in.
How important is this? Not important at all, but it was way more fun to write than a lot of things I could be writing right now.
No 1 of Consequence

The Georgia education system is atrocious

I am going to write about No Wife a bit today because my anger has reached a point that I may have a stroke if I don't get this out into the world.

My wife is a social studies teacher. She is a summa cum laude graduate of one of the finest universities for educators in the northeast. She has won very presitigious teaching awards from the State of New Jersey as well as been nominated for the Teacher of the Year Award sponsored by a very prominent corporation. Her lessons are engaging and collaborative. She has significant experience at top rated schools in a state that consistently ranks among the highest in public education. Yet here in Cobb County, Georgia, in two school years of looking she has been unable to secure employment. This is ludicrous.

In a state like Georgia which is supposedly dying for teachers. she is consistently passed over, not only for jobs, but also for interviews. In a state like Georgia, which has an appallingly ranked educational system, how can any principal justify passing her incredibly impressive resume by? In a state like Georgia which is populated by military families and numerous bases, how is it that a veteran of the United States Army with impeccable credentials and an amazing ability to reach even the toughest students doesn't get asked to serve her community?

Our phone should be ringing off the hook. She should not be sitting at a computer shaking her head as one perfect position after another comes and goes with nary a phone call. The middle and high schools in Cobb County Georgia are robbing their students of opportunity on a daily basis because of what appears to be an "old boy" hiring policy. (I have no evidence of this, but nothing else makes sense when you measure No Wife's credentials against the positions available.)

No Wife is a rock star at the front of a classroom. Who is going to step up and give their students a real chance to not only learn something, but love the process of learning it?

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I have not been able to get this song out of my head. It is slamming! My musical tastes are fairly eclectic, but stuff like this winds me up. I would have embedded it here, but the embedding is disabled at the request of Universal Music who haven't learned that the free model, driven and bundled with advertising is the way to go and choking off content from the masses is stupid. What's better? Me bashing Universal for disabling the embed capability or, me embedding the song here promoting Saliva's music and Universal and allowing YouTube to get their advertising to a wider (ever so slightly wider) audience. Silly shortsightedness wins again.

No 1 of Consequence

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I'll have a tank please, shaken, not stirred

OK, so then we'll take the flying carpet and fly over the invisible tanks.

Invisible tanks.... I don't care who you are, that's pretty cool stuff.

No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Interesting interview

You may or may not recall that awhile back a student at the University of Florida was hit with a taser and arrested after asking Senator John Kerry some hard questions during an open mic. Andrew Meyer has dropped of the radar since then, but he gave an interview to The Today Show website and will be appearing on the show Thursday morning. The interview is very interesting and despite his youth he seems fairly grounded. It is an interesting read.

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jack Sparrow? Not so much

Being in the international trade game, I tend to look at international stories and politics in a different light than most people. Political unrest and conflict in various areas around the globe cause something called supply risk. I saw a story this morning about pirates off the coast of Somalia seizing a North Korean cargo vessel.

At first blush you can smile and laugh and think to yourself that anything the kicks Kim Jong Il in the teeth a little bit is good for the rest of the world. However if we take a moment and think what might be in that cargo ship and what could be falling into the hands of Islamic fundamentalist pirates we may begin to worry.

Piracy in the waters off Somalia and traveling through the waterways that surround the islands of Indonesia is rampant. Ships and good are routinely seized and held for ransom. My question is, what happens if the wrong ship falls into those hands? Not a pleasant thought.

****UPDATE: The North Korean crew retook their boat when the U.S. Navy showed up.

No 1 of Consequence

Sunday, October 28, 2007

41 years

My parents have been married for 41 years. In years 40 and 41 their jackass of a son (that would be me) has been too wrapped up in the insanity of his own life to remember their anniversary. So, to honor their commitment, I am mentioning the anniversary on my blog.

41 years is a LONG time. 14,965 days. 359,160 hours. 21,549,600 minutes. 1,292,976,000 seconds.

Their marriage, like any marriage, has had its ups and down, but despite any troubles they have remained steadfast.

41 years is a testament to love and commitment. It is also a testament to endurance. In an age where marriage and divorce happen on demand and vows are taken with a very large grain of salt. It is nice to slow down for a moment and look to a marriage that has stood the test of time.

I'm very proud of my parents for being able to achieve such a milestone. I look forward to actually remembering to honor their love and commitment to each other next year.

Mazel Tov guys! I love you.

No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pragmatic Environmentalism: Part II

I just saw this great article on CNN and was very pleased to see that my family already does a lot of the things on this list. I will be putting out a battery recycling bucket this weekend because as anyone with children knows, the kiddies go through batteries like water. Here is another phenomenal way to save money on batteries.

****UPDATE - Reason #468 why it is important to have readers smarter than you. The battery thing was bogus.

No 1 of Consequence

Monday, October 22, 2007

You know you've been a parent a long time when...

Your baby pukes in the night and you have his clothes changed and him back to sleep in less than three minutes.

*In the interest of full disclosure this was minor pukage and not full on projectile vomiting over sheets and blankets. Had that taken place the pit stop would have taken 6-8 minutes depending on whether there was mattress involvement. Damned post nasal drip and the latest revelations that decongestants and babies don't mix.

***UPDATE: Second puking episode, this time requiring a tub dunk executed to perfection by mommy, jammie change, sheet changes and some snuggling. I was back in front of the computer in 12 minutes after putting in a stinky load of laundry. BOO YA!

***** UPDATE 2: 4 puking episodes, multiple jammie and bedding changes, and although it was relatively short during each one I didn't end up getting to bed until 2:30. I am retracting my earlier BOO YA!

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A little moralized... hmm

I know, I know, moralized isn't really a word, give me a grammatical break. I am usually very good to you people. :-)

As I have mentioned in the past, I lived in Israel. Well today I created a social network on Ning for all the alumni of the Otzma fellowship. It was kind of tedious inviting all 240+ members that I have e-mail addresses for, but I think it will end up being worth it.

No 1 of Consequence

Monday, October 15, 2007

A little demoralized

In the first incarnation of this blog I used to get the occasional drive by comment. Someone who happened by and graced me with some words of their wisdom. I even used to have a contentious republican who would rant and call me a liberal nut. He would still read me ever day even though he hated me. I also had a regular Canadian reader named Grace who would happen by from time to time and give me some comment love. Now... I get nothing. It is kind of disappointing and makes me think my blog sucks. What a way to end an otherwise crappy Monday.

No 1 of Consequence

And now for something completely different

The Freakonomics guys wrote about something recently that intrigued me. While I am not an anarchist or anti capitalist at all I find something very intriguing about anyone who is trying to do it (life) differently. Because I appreciate different points of view I have created a new link list and added a link to Liz Seymour - Anarchist Mom. Her point of view is so reasoned it makes dumpster diving seem almost palatable. I am planning on making her blog a regular read, because I like alternative points of view.

Here are a couple of other alternative point of view sites for a different way of looking at finance.

Prosper is a community based lending site

Kiva is a community lending non profit for micro finance in the third world.

Both sites are very cool and are helping people.

No 1 of Consequence

Friday, October 12, 2007

Twitter 2

I wasn't sure about the whole Twitter thing at first. I am not usually an early adopter of technology, so it was kind of strange for me to be using something that is basically cutting edge. However, someone saw yesterday's Twitter message and hit me on the IM to express concern about my general well being. (I'm fine by the way) Why is the IM follow up relevant? It immediately demnonstrates the possibilities.

Imagine you are waiting for some very important news and by proxy your entire support structure both on and offline are waiting. The news arrives, positive or negative, and you tweet it out to everyone who follows you. (presumably the aforementioned human support structure) All around the world, people's mobile phones, e-mails, and or personal Twitter feeds go off letting them know that everything is ok... or not. It is a powerful communication tool that is just scratching the surface of its capabilities.

No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pragmatic environmentalism

I don't drive a hybrid, but I am interested in the environment. Lately my attention has turned to solar power and its potential for reducing the carbon footprint (excuse my use of trendy lexicon) of the U.S. and the world in general. This is a VERY interesting story about solar power and a new technology that makes solar cells signifcantly more effective. It isn't technical at all and is quite compelling. I recommend it.

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


If you look to your right you will see I have added a Twitter widget to my blog. It is a neat little thing that allows me to pop in short updates anytime I feel like throwing a sentence or two on the blog. Also, if any of my loyal few subscribe to Twitter you can "track" me. You can get an update anytime I tweet. If you really want to stalk me you can register your cell phone with Twitter and receive a text message anytime I tweet. Kind of an odd phenomenon indeed, but kind of cool as well.

No 1 of Consequence

Sunday, October 07, 2007

J - E - T - S Just End the Season

Bill Simmons of ESPN recently wrote a column about the different levels of losing in sports. It is an intricately detailed sonnet about futility. He gives personal anectdotes of how each different kind of loss affected him. It is amusing, it is tragic, and after pondering my life as a Jets fan, it is woefully incomplete.

Level F for Futility - When you know before the season ever starts that your team has absolutely zero chance of doing anything worth cheering for because they can't stop the run, can't run the ball, and their QB is so incompetent every fan KNOWS that at a crucial moment he will kill your team's chances with a life sucking interception.

Example: The 2007 New York Jets.

I spent a lot of time on the phone with Annoyed today. We are both Jets and Yankee fans which if is kind of an anomaly if you are from the NYC area. Most Giants fans are Yankee fans and the Jets and the Mets fans seem to match up despite the oddly annoying rhyme scheme that creates. (For an odd twist the Nets are moving right into the hotbed of Jets, Mets fandom in Brooklyn with the hopes of creating an annoying fandom rhyme scheme trifecta.)

After the Jets flukishly jumped out to a small lead Annoyed and I sat on the phone with each other shamelessly predicting when the downfall would occur. Chad Pennington obliged as he always does. One interception demonstrated Pennington's incompetence to such a glaring degree that Randy Cross, who was announcing the game, called it, "truly terrible." When the Jets got the ball back for a final chance to tie the game, Chad predictably threw a soul sucking interception.

To be fair, this particular incarnation of Jets incompetence was not limited to the offensive side of the ball. The defense was equally offensive. The defense's inability to stop the run or tackle was just as incompetent as the offense's inability to run the ball or convert a crucial 3rd down play.

In other news the Dolphins lost again and currently leading the charge for the #1 overall pick in the 2008 draft.

The Patriots may go undefeated.

Joe Torre staved off firing for a day because the Yankees managed to win a game against Cleveland.

No 1 of Consequence

Friday, October 05, 2007

Debbie Cole rocks!!

When I am feeling especially cynical about the world stories like this make me feel better.

A garbage collector in Florida found a bag of money and returned it to the owner. The bag contained $65,000. A huge amount of money? Not especially. However, for a garbage collector in Florida it is life changing. It would have been two years salary according to the news story. Debbie is a public employee so she can't be rewarded by her boss, but if Loomis security (the people who were responsible for the money being on the side of the road) is smart they will give her a nice reward. I am seriously thinking about sending her a gift card to a chain restaurant and writing her a note about how much I appreciate her showing responsibility and honesty where most others would not have.

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Some thoughts on a Tuesday afternoon...

I just wanted to point out in the new layout there is a second set of links. The business links are business blogs that I read every day written by very smart people. What you have to take into account when you read the works of smart people, whether it be the Freakonomics guys or anyone who knows what they are talking about is they occasionally fall in love with their own ideas. I do it. I think everyone does to a certain extent.

At one point I thought it would be a great idea to own a retail video store. I thought it would be a great business that could pay the bills while I wrote the great American novel. Looking back now I was clearly an idiot. I bought into a dying industry at the end of its run without knowing a whole lot about retail, market conditions, budgeting or forecasting, or generally anything about business. It cost me on every level, but was also probably one of the better learning experiences of my adult life. Was it worth the lesson? The jury is still out on that one. Failing big is a hard teacher.

I guess the most interesting thing I learned from that failure is that I am not afraid to fail. Perhaps a better way of saying it is fear of failure will never stop me from putting it out there. The true enemy of all success, in my opinion, is fear. Whether it be fear of the unknown, fear of the consequences, fear of being wrong, or fear of life, the biggest factor in anyone's personal failure is being so afraid of the outcome it prevents you from trying.

The business blogs are writte by people that had the big idea or funded the big idea and helped that big idea turn into massive success. Marc Andreessen's blog is especially interesting. As big time minds go, his is among the biggest.

I hope you enjoy the new links as much as I do.

No 1 of Consequence

Monday, October 01, 2007

This is a story about a man named Chad...

He is a quarterback and he's awfully bad!!

When Jets fans watch him he makes them sad!!

He makes me sick and he makes me mad!!

It's time to say goodbye to the man named Chad!!

On a Monday morning that is what passes for poetry coming from me.

Watching the Jets yesterday was a further exercise in futility. They lost 17-14 to a Buffalo Bills team that was just north of ugly. The defense was pathetic. The Bills only punted three times the whole day. However look at the line for Mr. Pennington (the man named Chad for those uninitiated to the NFL) 32-39 for 290 yards 1 touchdown and two interceptions. First glance at that stat line and you say to yourself, "Chad Pennington is a good quarterback." But you don't watch the Jets... you don't know the tragedy that is his right arm.

I want to like Chad, I do. He is a smart player. He understands the game. However, watching his throws flutter through the air as his receivers wait and wait is physically painful. He lofted a ball in the air yesterday that almost got Jerricho Cotchery killed. Chad Pennington just doesn't have the physical tools to be a winning QB in the NFL. I think he will be a great head coach one day.

Solomon Wilcox, one of the CBS announcers that handles Jets games described Pennington's passes as wounded ducks. They flutter and linger in the air while defensive player have a chance to catch up to the Jets receivers and destroy them with vicious hits. The last play of the Bills game was a Pennington wounded duck interception. The pass floated through the air while one of the Jets receivers waited and waited for it. The ball never got to him and another Jets season went down the drain.

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


It is a wonder my faithful few, that I have not snapped living here in red state hell. Atlanta is a multi cultural and diverse city. I don't exactly live in the city of Atlanta. I live just a bit outside in perhaps the whitest community in America. Lily white. Snow white. Even the black people are whiter than me. I am sick of living here. Almost everything that happens in this community irritates me.

Today my 13 year old son brings home a paper that states that abstinence only curriculum approved by local ministers is taught in his PUBLIC school. What's worse is that the program is funded by a FEDERAL abstinence only grant.

I am holding a piece of paper urging me to allow my son to participate in a program that has no hope of success. Not only does the program preach abstinence through adolescence but abstinence until marriage. Good luck!!

There are numerous studies which state that teaching abstinence is not only ineffective, but also irresponsible. Teaching abstinence without teaching proper contraception technique is reckless. Do you know why? Kids are going to have sex. They are going to have sex. THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE SEX!!!!

Why are ministers involved in the teaching curriculum? I am pretty sure that is a clear violation of The Constitution. Why is the federal government giving out absitnence grants. The GAO, the governments own oversight organization said that teaching abstinence without fully teaching contraception techniques (among other things) is a violation of federal law. After the GAO made this recommendation HHS (Health and Human Services Admin) changed the Federal Abstinence Grant guidelines to specifically preclude the teaching of contraception techniques. It is wonderful to see the Bush administration isn't just interested in breaking laws involving illegal search and seizure. They are violating the Constitutional rights of children and endangering their lives at the same time. Rock on.

No 1 of Consequence

Monday, September 24, 2007

The saga is at an end

Milton Bradley has torn his ACL and is out for the year. 244 Plate appearances and a cloud of dust.

So sad. Sadder still that I care.

No 1 of Consequence

Never tie your fantasy baseball hopes to an insane player

Read my post about Milton Bradley. Then read this. Then picture myself slamming my head into my desk saying "6 more plate appearances... YOU F-ING LUNATIC YOU COULDN'T WAIT SIX MORE PLATE APPEARANCES BEFORE YOU MELTED DOWN LIKE CHERNOBYL?"

No 1 of Consequence

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Today's sign I am a major nerd

I have been in the same fantasy baseball league for over a decade. I won't go into details about how much more geeky my league is than others but take my word for it when I say, we go above and beyond. I actually flew to NJ last year for the draft.

"No 1, who cares? Why are you telling us this unimportant nonsense?"

Very good question.

Milton Bradley of the San Diego Padres needs 250 plate appearances in order to qualify for the league next year. As of this moment he has 240. I am currently monitoring the Padres - Rockies box score to check each time he comes up to bat.

"Why in the name of all that is good in this world would you do that?"

Another good question.

Milton Bradley has been injured about half a dozen times this season. This is the reason he has so few plate appearances. (500-600 is the norm for a baseball season) He is currently battling a strain to one of the oblique muscles on his side. The Padres are fighting for a playoff spot right now, so if they feel he can't play up to his normal level they may sit him down for the last 2 weeks of the season and play a healthy player instead.

I don't care about Milton Bradley. I don't care about the San Diego Padres. All I care about are these last ten plate appearances. Yes, I am the biggest geek in all the land

No 1 of Consequence

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The trials and tribulations of being a busy blogger

There is no excuse really, but work is once again all I am thinking about. Well, that and how many rounds of Resistance I will get to play on any given night. Well that, Resistance, and the ever blooming entrepreneurial ideas that are gnawing at me.

I want to write about the country. It makes me sad and I want to share that with you. I want to write about the kids. They make me happy and I want to share that too. I want to write about the Jets. They make me suicidal and I am sure that will make you laugh. I want to write about what I am thinking. Some people have found that interesting from time to time. I want to do all of these things. However, I don't have enough time to really explore my thoughts.

What do you think of the new template?

No 1 of Consequence

Thursday, September 13, 2007

5 years

I have been using blogger for 5 years in the first and second incarnations of No 1 of Consequence. In that 5 years I have not changed the layout of the blog at all. I am going to do it. I have links that need to be updated and some more traffic drivers I want to add in. The new blogger layout is much more conducive to easy editing.

This weekend it will happen.

L'Shana Tova (that means Happy New Year to my non Hebrew readers)

No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

International travel is yucky

Please forgive the lowbrow title, but I am exhausted. I am in Geneva this week and after spending labor day on various planes getting here. Between all day overnight travel on Monday and working all day and part of the evening on Tuesday I am still not totally recovered. I slept well last night, but am still jet lagged to a significant degree. I will start to feel better tomorrow and Friday, right in time to waste my entire Saturday traveling home.

This place is so absolutely gorgeous it is almost worth the trip. It make me wish I could paint.

No 1 of Consequence

I lived in Israel

From 1993-1994 I lived in Israel as a participant in the Otzma community service program. At the time a large portion of that program was spent living on a kibbutz and learning to speak Hebrew. I found the kibbutz experience to be one of the most rewarding and peaceful experiences of my life. It was disconnected living for the most part, completely foreign to anything I had ever known in my life as a priviledged teen-ager/early twenty something from NJ.

I worked in a plastics factory and picked potatoes. I ate hearty meals with the community and played basketball every night with my friends. All the pain and heartache that my time at Temple University had worn into me seemed to melt away in the Negev sun. In addition I was surrounded by one of the most talented and brilliant groups of young people I ever had the good fortune to meet and being around them made me a better person.

Gary Becker & Richard Posner, perhaps two of the greatest minds of our time have a blog. They recently wrote about the transformation of the kibbutz movement and postulate that the time of the kibbutz has passed. This makes me very sad.

No 1 of Consequence

Friday, August 31, 2007

One step closer to equality for all

It isn’t over yet, but a judge in Iowa has struck down a law that prevents same sex couples from marrying. As you may or may not know I find same sex marriage bans to be legalized racism. Discriminating against any person because of who they are is a fundamental wrong. I believe we need to rid ourselves of repressive ideas and reject any ideology that prevents any person from exercising the same rights provided to all others. So today we give a hearty high five to Polk County Judge Robert Hanson.
No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

You sometimes wonder if the world has gone mad.

I love the Wall Street Journal. I love it. It is a GREAT newspaper. Reading the "What's News" box on the left side of the front page is usually enough to keep you caught up on domestic and international business and politics. Today, on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, above the fold, is a story about 2 young men who started a beer pong supply company. Ladies and gentleman, the world has officially gone to hell entrenched firmly in a handbasket.

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The internet is dead and boring... says Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban did an interview with Lloyd Grove and said the internet was on the decline. Due to the backlash from the interview he has followed up with a couple of blog posts amplifying and inflaming his comments and detractors.
Here are some of his comments:
The days of the Internet creating explosively exciting ideas are dead. They are dead until bandwidth throughput to the home reaches far higher numbers than the vast majority of broadband users get today. Few people's actual throughput to their homes have increased more than 5mbs in the past 5 years, and few people's throughput (if you dint understand the difference between throughput and the marketed downstream speeds your read from your ISP, you should) to their homes will increase more than 10mbs in the next 5 years. That's not enough to define a platform that allows really smart people to come up with groundbreaking ideas.
Let's be clear about my opinion of Mark Cuban. He is a visionary businessman that has created a billion dollar fortune out of ideas. That is something to be respected, in my opinion, because I spend a large part of my day trying to come up with the next winning idea. However, in this particular case I think he is dead wrong.
Let's assume for a moment he is right about the bandwidth that most people's homes will be able to manage. All that means is the smart people will have to think of ideas to make use of the bandwidth people have. I am sure there are start up companies out their right now that are working on data compression technology that will allow the kind of content delivery Cuban thinks necessary for the internet to advance. Maybe the better questions is why do people need more throughput to their homes for the net to advance beyond it's current state?
Take a look at the history of the internet and the creation and loss of great wealth that has come with it. Look at the new tools that are popping up and the different ways of interacting with everyone that is, was, or will be in your life. To say the net is in its infancy might be a gross overstatement, but it is definitely in its adolescence. The world is making demands and the markets follow demand. If the net truly needs greater throughput to expand, it will have it. My hypothesis is that someone will think differently and come up with a better idea of how to use the bandwidth that exists to advance the net for themselves and for the world.
No 1 of Consequence
***EDITOR'S NOTE*** A lot of my respect for Mark Cuban has been lost. He is scheduled to appear on Dancing With the Stars.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Alberto Gonzales, see ya

Alberto Gonzales resigned. Democrats are criticizing him as he goes. Republicans are giving him very subdued thanks. If you follow this administrations myriad mistakes you are aware that Alberto Gonzales has made a number of them. If anyone thinks that his actions are independent of this administration's policy of oppression they are sorely mistaken. President Bush and his cronies have declared war on civil liberties in this country. Alberto Gonzales was acting in the service of his king... so called king, self crowned king... facist leader. Should he have risen above the administration and led the Department of Justice on a just path? I think he should have. Am I even remotely surprised he didn't? Not even a little bit.

No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

No mas, I give up.

Back on August 6, I posted about a law that basically usurped the 4th Amendement rights from a lot of Americans. I intimated in this post that the democrats were asleep at the switch while this legislation was being pushed through.

No Best Man of Consequence sent me an e-mail last night quoting a New York Times article:

Congress accidentally gave President George Bush the power to conduct warrantless searches and seizures when it passed a wiretapping bill earlier this month. Democrats are embarrassed they voted without understanding language that would allow—among other things—some physical searches, and the collection of business records, without a court order.

Another quote from the Times:

“We did not cover ourselves in glory,” said one Democratic aide, referring to how the bill was compiled.


This is sickening on a number of levels. How does one accidentally give broad powers in violation of The Constitution to the executive? How is a bill accidentally passed? I am certain I saw a Schoolhouse Rock episode once when I was a kid that detailed how tough it really is to get a law passed.

That YouTube video is 3 minutes long. Longer than anyone spent reading this pathetic piece of legislation. It also demonstrates that Congress doesn't actually debate laws anymore. They just sign them out of fear.

Scaredy cat signing quote from the times:

Though many Democratic leaders opposed the final version of the legislation, they did not work forcefully to block its passage, largely out of fear that they would be criticized by President Bush and Republican leaders during the August recess as being soft on terrorism.

Once again we have checkers playing politicians in a chess playing world. This isn't even hard folks. I bet if I asked my 13 year old son how he would handle this kind of criticism he could easily come up with a deflection strategy that would be viable.

How about this, and keep in mind I 've spent exactly 3 minutes thinking about it.

Hypothetical politician responding to hypothetical criticism that he is soft on terrorism when faced with passing legislation that significantly impacts the rights of American citizens.

"When taking my oath of office after the citizens of (insert state here) saw fit to elect me as their representative I swore to uphold The Constitution of the United States of America. This legislation, while it may be expedient, does not protect the bests interests of Americans because it impinges upon their civil liberties. Voting for legislation that oppresses law abiding citizens is a violation of my oath and I will not sign, EVER. This administration has refused to do what's hard, which is protect Americans from terrorism without infringing upon the freedoms that make this country what it is. Until President Bush and the republican party take freedom as seriously as I do, and are willing to do the hard work involved in protecting that freedom, we will not be safe from ourselves, much less terrorists."

Think that would send any critical right wing elements scrambling? I do. Imagine what someone who does political spinning professionally could come up with.

No 1 of Consequence

Friday, August 17, 2007

Miracles do happen

The victories for liberty have been so few in this country lately I wanted to share this small one with you.

Read this and smile, for The Constitution still exists, if only for a moment.

No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

So long Scooter

In case you haven't been paying attention or don't really care, baseball lost a great envoy this week. Phil Rizzuto wasn't just a great shortstop and great New York Yankee, he was greatly responsible for me loving baseball.

I was born in 1971 and some of the earliest memories I have of my father revolve around him coming into my bedroom to say goodnight and tuning in the Yankees games for me on a transistor radio. I listened to the exploits of Willie Randolph, Graig Nettles, Ron Guidry, Thurman Munson et al through Scooter's descriptions and stories. My love for the Yankees was born in those moments and refined over years and years. Listening to Phil shout "Holy Cow" into the microphone punctuated some of the greatest sports moments of the 1970's and my childhood.

Like many people who lived in Essex County, NJ I have my own Phil Rizzuto story, and it isn't just about the time I ran into him at the Millburn Diner with his wife Cora. In his later years Scooter was big on strolling around the local malls. He had a secretary that drove him around the area and he would shop and chat with people during the day. I used to get my hair cut at the Livingston Mall and as I was popping in for a trim he was walking out of the mall.

"Mr. Rizzuto," I said, reaching out to shake his hand, "I just wanted to tell you what a big fan I am and thank you."

I spent a few moments relating how my dad used to turn the games on and how my love of the Yankees was born listening to his voice.

He smiled and said, "Holy Cow! What a memory you've got!"

I laughed and beamed as he went on about his business. I know he threw his catch phrase around pretty liberally, but that one was just for me.

Rest in peace.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Boy Genius

Karl Rove has resigned from the White House to resume his position as {insert satanic joke here}.

Say what you will about Karl Rove, and believe me, most of what I want to say uses language I tend to stay away from on this blog, the man was a genius.

He was, perhaps, the only chess player in an administration that was repeatedly caught playing checkers on a global stage. Rove's ability to manipulate the conservative vote by putting polarizing referendums on ballots in swing states was truly diabolical. He conquered. It is unfortunate that he never chose to use his brilliance for the benefit of all Americans, rather he spun his maniacal webs of deceit for the benefit of The President and his cronies.

Karl Rove is also guilty of treason. Scooter Libby took the fall for the outing of Valerie Plame, but the only person who doesn't think that Rove was ultimately responsible might be President Bush. If Karl Rove revealed the identity of an undercover CIA operative during a time of war he is guilty of treason. At the very least he should go to Fort Levenworth for the rest of his life. Karl Rove might be responsible for more damage to the United States than any other single human being in the last 30 years. The only reason I am not jumping for joy is because now he will be free to continue to plot against America without any oversight. I am truly fearful of the next time we hear his name in the news.

No 1 of Consequence

Since the first post was kind of a cheat...

... and I am way more interested in posting than I am in working, I will give you a second post today.

For those of you that talk to me regularly you probably know I am a big fan of a book called Freakonomics. It is a well written, down to Earth take on some real world issues and gives you different ways of looking at them.

Here is a very quick example of some of the contentions of the book:

Roe v Wade was actually responsible for a significant drop in crime in the US.

Measuring teachers and school districts on the results of standardized testing leads to teacher cheating.

Reading to your child has little or no impact on their intellectual development, but having a lot of books available does.

Without reading the book none of that information means anything, but I was trying to whet your intellectual whistle a little bit. Read the book. It will teach you something, either about the world or about yourself. One thing it helped me with was asking the right questions when confronted with a situation.

Overall the book really trained me to ask the question, "Is this information relevant to the topic at all, or should I be looking for different information." It is a GREAT way to tune your personal BS filter.

Be that as it may I am writing this post for two reasons. First, I suggest everyone read this book. You may reject everything in it as hogwash and you may decide the questions the authors end up asking are wrong, but I guarantee you you'll be thinking about the book long after you are finished reading it. Secondly, I want to let you know that the authors, in association with the New York Times have a blog. It becomes severely pretentious at times as these guys do get wrapped up in themselves. Overall, however, it is a brilliantly written, thought provoking blog and it will give you something very interesting to think about almost every day.

Check it out It is a daily read for me.

No 1 of Consequence

***EDITOR'S NOTE*** I know I wrote about this about a month or two ago, but I didn't feel like I gave it the attention it deserved. So for the second time today I am cheating you out of real content. Bad No 1!! The Freakonomics blog has also been linked on the sidebar for all eternity.

My nerd-dom knows very few bounds

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Princess Bride

Last week for the first time my two older sons watched The Princess Bride. My oldest (13) thought it was ok, but my middle son (7) was completely enamored. For the last week he has been bouncing around fake fencing and quoting the movie. Saying things like, "I know something you don't know... What's that?... I am not left handed," and "Who are you?... No 1 of Consequence... I must know...Get used to diappointment." He puts on a little Spanish accent when imitating Inigo Montoya and it is about the cutest thing ever. I don't write about the kids a ton, but since he fell in love with the movie that inspired the name for this particular blog, I thought I would share it with you.

Inigo Montoya: Who are you?

Westley: No one of consequence.

Inigo Montoya: I must know...

Westley: Get used to disappointment.

No 1 of Consequence

Monday, August 06, 2007

We have to protect you, by taking away your civil liberties.

Sometimes I don't even know what to say. It is a rare thing to find me speechless, but I am. You hope things would change since congress is now majority democrat.

The your government passes this law on a Sunday, while you weren't watching.

The Constitution becomes more and more a historical document every day.

I am going to go throw up now.

No 1 of Consequence

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fishy fishy in the sea.

On my way to the Atlanta Zoo today I rode behind a Saturn Vue. This particular car, like many cars in GA, had a Jesus fish stuck to the back of it. Something was written in this particular fish and my naturally inquisitive nature tried to decipher it. Finally, I thought I had figured it out and read something so baffling that I laughed out loud.

"What?" asked No Wife of Consequence.

"I could swear the Jesus fish on that SUV says gefilte in it," I said with as much shock as I could muster.

"You're an idiot, it doesn't say gefilte," she said, "It probably says "gives life" or something like that."

I was forced to agree it was unlikely it said gefilte. As we pulled into the zoo parking lot, the Saturn was a couple of cars ahead. My wife was forced to pull very close to them as we entered the parking lot.

"Yeah, that's a Jesus fish that says gefilte in it," she said.

We parked very close to family that had the gefilte Jesus fish on the back of their car and I went right up and asked them where they procured this delightful little novelty. The husband told me he found it somewhere on the net.

Guess who's ordering a gefilte fish for his car? You bet your tuchus I am!
By the way, Pandas are super cute. I mean ridiculously cute. You almost can't determine a cuteness level they are so cute. If you don't believe me, click the Atlanta Zoo link above and load up the panda cam.

No 1 of Consequence

Friday, July 27, 2007

Resistance: Fall of Man

I got a Playstation 3. Annoyed got a Playstation 3 first. No Brother got a Playstation 3 last. The Playstation 3 has WiFi. If you log on to Playstation 3 with No Brother and Annoyed and play Resistance: Fall of Man it is more fun than any 3 grown men should be allowed to have. The best part of all of this is when my oldest son is playing Resistance and trash talking No Brother and Annoyed. High comedy. High comedy indeed.

No 1 of Consequence

Friday, June 22, 2007

More problems with TV in the UK

I know I have complained a bit about TV in the UK. I promise this will be the last time. (Probably lying right there, but we can always hope) I am watching Aaron Sorkin's brilliant movie, A Few Good Men currently which is a welcome respite from the dreck they have shown the rest of the time I have been here. However, the editing is so awful it is really shocking. In the US, movies on regular TV are edited with at least a modicum of respect for pacing. They try and insert station/commercial breaks at natural pauses in the story. Here in jolly old England, they are completely clueless. They inset breaks mid conversation. Anyone who is a devotee of Aaron Sorkin knows his dialogue has a certain pace and cadence to it and to chop it up like celery is a crime. I really want to go home.

No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Live from the United Kingdom, China's got problems

In the business I am in, I often hear people in the US raging against China. They worry that China is stealing their jobs, their money and their future. They worry about the power of the Chinese economy and how much of our foreign debt the Chinese government holds. I hear the voices of fear and in many ways those fears are founded. However China's internal struggles are enormous, and could be potentially crippling. From the oddities of having a massive migrant population to the atrocities that people seeking freedom have to endure China is poised for major change in the next quarter century and all the changes it will see won't be positive ones.

Read this article about the Great Firewall of China and you will get an understanding that the information revolution in China could be the first tumbling stone in the avalanche of actual revolution and I don't mean the perpetual revolution Mao Tze Tung was talking about when he wrote the Little Red Book.


As a general side note, TV in the UK absolutely sucks. Thanksfully I brought the first two seasons of Rescue Me on DVD with me. I watched a few episodes last night and they were as enjoyable as my brother and the annoyed guy promised.

No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Everything that has a beginning, must have an end.

No, I am not talking about the Sopranos. I will save that discussion for another post (maybe today) when I have a few minutes to really delve into it. No this is to chronicle the demise of the regular, fairly large poker tournament that I created a few years back.

The first tournament was held at my parent's house in South Orange, NJ. It had about 50-60 people and we used awful plastic chips. My father's best friend was the champion and pocketed a couple of hundred dollars. Great fun was had by all.

A few months later my buddy and I secured a larger venue at a local synagogue and we had another tournament. It had about 70 people and was a fairly rousing success.

Eventually my work situation changed and my buddy and I were unable to run the tourneys anymore. However, one of the players picked up the mantle and continued what we had created. For the next few years she ran the tournaments and while I have been living out of the state for the last 2 years I even managed to make the last one, because I was in town visiting friends.

I found out this morning, that the last tournament, was most likely the end to that particular series of poker tourneys. It makes me sad to know something I helped create will be no more.

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Look out time management

One challenge I face being an abnormally inquisitive person about the world at large is that I will occasionally suffer a massive time drain to something I find compelling. This puts me behind at work and that causes me serious problems. This doesn't happen often, but it does happen. I am in terrible danger of it happening today. The guy's who wrote Freakonomics have a blog. I did not know this before today. I am in danger of losing the whole day reading it. I must be discliplined. I must be disciplined.

No 1 of Consequence

Friday, June 08, 2007


I just read this article by Joe Klein. It interestingly details how he was slightly misled by a politician only to be completely lambasted by left wing bloggers. The politician called to tell him the misleading statement was unintentional and apologized. He printed the apology and got crushed again by the writers carrying the banners of the left.

I am absolutely a left leaning guy. Some would say I lean so far left I am actually laying down. They might be right. :-) My point in this little foray back into the political is that the inability to argue points with civility is what prevents progress. If someone is hateful, spiteful and vindictive is drags down their entire cause.

I fall into it sometimes, as do most people. I freely admit that the mention of Ann Coulter causes me to lose all ability to reason. Overall though, I try and keep an open mind.

Raising the level of debate in this nation is important. We have to ask more of ourselves and our countrymen. We have to focus our eyes on what is important and definitely learn to separate the things that aren't from the national stage. Publicly eviscerating people for making minor errors doesn't help anything or anyone.


Some notes from the UK

- TV here sucks. It just out and out blows. I was stuck watching reruns of Bones last night and felt like it was almost a good show because I was that bored.

- I don't sleep well here. It is hard to be super productive when I am dog tired a lot of the time.

- My brother calls my international cell phone to talk about fantasy baseball. I love that.

- I found out that significant time in Geneva is going to be in my future. I am note sure how I feel about this. Of course it means I will probably hit platinum medallion status on Delta.

- I really like the guys I am working with here. This consulting bunch is fantastic. They are a LOT of fun to work with and while I don't enjoy being away from my family that much, it could be a whole lot worse than it is.

- The UK is so damned expensive I can't even begin to tell you. The US needs to get the dollar back under control and they need to do it very badly.

- I found yesterday I have a new boss... sort of, maybe two new bosses, it still hasn't fleshed out and I am not really thrilled about it.

- There is a 99% chance that I am going to start doing podcasts. I just need to figure out if I can record using my Skype headset and Polycom Communicator.

No 1 of Consequence

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Back in the saddle

You know, I haven't been very good to my faithful few for awhile. I love this blog, but I fall in to the age old chasm of lack of time. It is an excuse to be sure. One could say if I truly wanted to devote time to this blog, I would.

I have been traveling extensively internationally and that is going to continue through the end of June. Hopefully, come July, I will be able to devote some time to writing about some of the absolutely messed up stuff that has been going on in the world.

A guy with an almost incurable form of transmissible TB knowingly getting on an international flight. This hit very close to home, because I have been in Hartsfield Jackson airport in Atlanta more times than I care to count in the last couple of months and I have been on several trans-atlantic flights, with several more to come in the next few weeks.

The deomcratic party slowly but surely squandering its strategic advantage heading into the 2008 election.

The pathetic display of the New York Yankees on the field so far this year.

and much much more.

I have about a million things I want to write about. I hope to give you more to read soon. If not, please be patient, this blog lives.

No 1 of Consequence

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Lately I have been feeling like a marionette. I feel like I have not been in control of my own destiny. Work this last year has been tumultuous at best and while at one point I thought this position would bring me fortune, I am beginning to think that is not the case.

In the last couple of weeks I have taken steps to regain control of my destiny as it were. I have launched an entrepreneurial venture that could prove very lucrative should my partner and I be successful. He has a history of success in these types of ventures so he seems like the ideal person to be getting into business with.

Also, I have been working on an invention, design modification that will increase the fuel efficiency of Class 8 18 wheeled tractor trailers by a significant amount. I have been told that if you can save truckers 1 cent per mile your invention has merit. If that is the truth this is potentially worth billions. I have approached an engineer with a long history of achievement to assist me because while my little mind can conceive a great many things, I have NO idea how to actually make it work. I am meeting with a patent attorney this week.

I have a number of other entrepreneurial ideas bandying about in my addled mind, but these are the two that are getting launched within the month. Of course, the patent attorney could tell me I am late to this particular party and I will have to flush the idea and the venture with my non-engineering partner could crash as quickly as it took flight, but I am cautiously optimistic.

No 1 of Consequence

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, you are being played...

...and so am I.

Unfortunately, there is not a damned thing we can do about it. We like to drive our cars and therefore we need to buy gasoline. When we buy gasoline we enrich those who strive to screw us, but we need to get to work, or the beach, or wherever.

Read this please.

That article details how gas will reach record highs in relatively short order despite crude oil being about $10 a barrel cheaper than it was last time gasoline breached the $3 a gallon mark.
The reason it details is an unusually high number of refinery outages lately and an inability of the oil companies to bring gasoline to the masses.

Hmm... If I was a multinational oil conglomerate or ten and I wanted to drive record prices during peak usage time, would I manufacture a reason to reduce the gasoline supply to the marketplace? I think I would. The oil companies know we will buy the gas anyway. Because they know we will buy the gas anyway they can do whatever they want. The only way to get them to turn the tap on and keep it on is to reduce demand. Will we reduce demand? Under no circumstances. So when paying $3.75 a gallon in July for regular so you can drive 500 miles to your destination of choice, remember, we are all to blame.

No 1 of Consequence

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dead to Me #2 Mike Nifong

I guess we should really blame O.J. Simpson. I mean, anyone who read this blog regularly knows he murdered basketball for me. However, O.J. is also responsible for bringing that nimrod Judge Lance Ito in my life. Ito was the first working judge to really become a household name when he allowed cameras into his courtroom and turned a murder trial into reality TV. Since then there have been myriad wannabe famous judges prosecutors and lawyers that have tried to turn their cases into fame and fortune for themselves. The latest loser?

Mike Nifong

If you have been living under a rock for the last year or so Mike Nifong brought an indictment against three Duke University lacrosse players for allegedly assaulting a stripper they brought to a fraternity party. I won't mention the names of the players because these guys have been harmed enough and they certainly don't need me bringing more attention to them. However Mike Nifong, assclown of the year, smeared these boys in the press, to their families and to the general public. He painted them as monsters, predators and everything that is wrong with college sports.

The problem? It was all a lie.

Mike Nifong had NO case. There was no evidence. The complaining witness was not even remotely credible. Did Mike Nifong care? Nope. He saw fame and fortune and who the hell cared if he ruined the lives of three people to do it. They were rich kids anyway, they would survive.

Today, to add insult to egrigious injury, Mike Nifong apologized to the boys today, after North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dropped all charges yesterday and proclaimed the boys innocent and Nifong a rogue. I tried to pull up a copy of the written apology, but for some reason I could not find a working link. In reality it doesn't matter what he said, how could it possibly help.

Mike Nifong will most likely be disbarred for his behavior and that is good. He will also probably spend the rest of his life paying off the judgement these three young men will win against him in civil court. If I was the State of North Carolina and the County of Durham I would write a big fat check now and save everyone the pain and embarrassment of the lawsuit.

Mike Nifong, dead to me for all time.

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Running with, what the hell was that about??

Running With Scissors is a movie based on the personal memoir of a man named Augusten Burroughs. I am going to spoil part of this movie for you if you haven't seen it. If you have, then feel free to commiserate with me in the comments section.

The movie, essentially is about Augusten's search for a normal childhood which is stolen from him because his alcoholic father leaves and his psychotic mother dumps him on her shrink. Augusten and the shrink's wife form a relationship and the payoff of the movie is her showing him a mother's love as he jaunts off into the world. Sound sweet?

There are a couple of major problems in this movie. Every commercial, every preview and everything I saw marketing this movie billed it as a comedy. It is NOT funny. It is not even remotely funny. There are a couple of moments that make you smile and some comedic depictions of insanity, but make no mistake, this is a dramatic film. It pisses me off when I am so misled by a movie's advertising. The comedic marketing of this film was a cheap manipulation and it sapped my enjoyment.

The cast is top notch and the acting is superior, so watching it, while irritating, was not excruciating. The irritating part is the climax of the movie is a culmination of Augusten's relationship with Agnes, the shrink's wife. However aside from a single scene starring Hamburger Helper the movie never delves into the relationship in a substiantive way. Why does Agnes love Augusten? I am still not sure.

The book may enrich the plot points that are so egrigiously missing from the movie and the story is mildly compelling so if I ever get a chance to read for pleasure in the near future I might pick it up. Now that you know what to expect I can say Running With Scissors is worth watching, but don't expect a comedy, you will not get one.

No 1 of Consequence

UPDATE: I wrote this last night when I was ridiculously tired and couldn't sleep. Re-reading it this morning tells me I should NEVER do that again. I won't delete it, but be aware I know it sucks.

15 years without laughter

When I was a boy I listened to stand up comedy. Many nights I would fall asleep to the sounds of Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and many others. Then, around the time I was 14 or 15 I heard a guy named Sam Kinison. He was so raucous, imaginative and over the top I was completely blown away. He made me laugh almost every time I heard him speak. I waited on line at Sam Goody to buy his new albums the day they were released and I listened to them until I could recite them in my sleep. 15 years ago today he was killed on the road to Las Vegas by a drunk driver. An ironic death considering Sam's hard drinking and drugging lifestyle, but a tragic one nonetheless. Sam brought political correctness to its knees during his day and in a world that thinks Dane Cook is the funniest guy around I find myself missing Sam's raw observations more and more.

No 1 of Consequence

Monday, April 09, 2007

Code or Censorship

From the New York Times

I find it interesting that blogging has become so prolific that people are sitting around discussing ways to make it nicer. Even if some community of bloggers comes up with a comprehensive code of behavior who is to say who will sign on to it and who won’t. Some people allow anonymous comments (me) and some don’t. I don’t really care what anyone says about me or anything I write. I welcome dissension and argument. If somebody posts something I don’t agree with I will just ignore them. If they post something I find offensive I will just delete their comment. If I stumble upon a blog I don’t find savory or palatable I won’t go back there. I am not sure I need a codified blogger standard to guide me. I apply my own filters to the world. I think most bloggers are capable of doing that.

No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sometimes you have to laugh

I love to play poker. Anyone who knows me really well knows this. I am a solid, if unspectacular player and my only failing is that I really don't play enough to be really good. This past Saturday the wife and I saw an ad on the net that intimated there was a live game at a local club that skirted the gambling laws. Being the outlaw gamblers that we are we decided to give it a try. Did I mention this was a big time redneck club? They have a website... here it is.

Now for me to be in a place like that to begin with? I don't drink or smoke. I also don't like loud music as I suffer from tinitis and this exacerbates my symptoms. So stepping in the door of this place is out of character for me, but I moved my wife to this ridiculous state and sometimes you have to bite the bullet. Also, because I like to play poker I figure the night won't be a total loss.

Unfortunately it was just an ad to bring people in. After paying the cover we found that there was only one poker table and you could buy chips, but not cash them out, so you were basically renting the seat and you could play, but not for money. Playing poker for anything other than money is stupid. However, we already paid the cover and figured we would play for awhile and hang out.

After about an hour I was bored out of my skull. My ears were ringing, my eyes were burning from the smoke and the general amusement I get from people watching had worn off. My wife, who doesn't have a general aversion to these places the way I do was having a good time. She doesn't get to go out much to places like this, so I didn't say anything. I tried to enjoy myself. I did enjoy the live they had. The singer was very talented and while I don't particularly like country music I would have to classify this more as southern rock and I like rock music. Unfortunately the volume was just too high for me.

Finally as we got up to leave the highlight of the evening took place. A seat opened up next to my wife at the poker table and a very tall blonde woman sat down next to her. She leaned over and began chatting up my wife. I couldn't hear much of anything at that point so I had no idea what they were saying. Turns out she thought my wife was pretty hot and wanted to take her home. So the highlight of my evening at the most rednecky place I have ever been was that a blonde redneck lesbian tried to pick up my wife. It was almost worth the ear pain.

No 1 of Consequence

Monday, March 19, 2007

Where the heck have I been?

Good question. I have been working like a dog. I was actually in the United Kingdom for a week in the middle of my absence for work. Traveling on business has a lot of bad points and only a couple of good ones.

Bad points to business travel:

Long airline flights
Being away from the family
Not sleeping in my own bed
Working twice as many hours as normal (this is time zone related and kind of unique to European travel, because half of the US day or more remains when I get back to my hotel)

Having conversations like this over skype:

Me: Tell the baby I love him
Her, to the baby: Daddy loves you
Her, to me: He said, "Who's daddy?"
Me: Ouch

It was said in jest, but the fact remains that traveling is as hard or harder on my wife and kids than it is on me. As I said there are some good points to business travel for me and NONE for my family.

The good points to business travel:

Per Diem expense policy: If you are on a per diem expense policy and you are willing to sacrifice on accomodations or dining you can make a lot of extra cash. On my UK trip I got a hotel that was approximately 100 dcollars less than my per diem allotment and I brought enough food that I was able to eat about 75% of my meals without spending money. I profited close to $1200 on the trip and that money is basically paying for our family spring break vacation back to NJ. I also learned some valuable lessons about bringing food on trips and will be able to make even more money next time. If I had been willing to really sacrifice and stay in a youth hostel I could have made double the profit on the trip, but I am not a young man anymore and a youth hostel is not on the agenda.

The plush hotels: I have travelled twice to Europe in the last 6 months and stayed in 3 hotels. They were incredibly plush. The last one I stayed in was so sweet I felt guilty being in it alone.

Broadening my horizons: I like to experience new things and it is nice to be able to say I was here, I was there. I probably would never have travelled to the UK or Switzerland if not for my job, so that is nice too, even though there was no real time for sight seeing.


Work has gone from breakneck to dangerously close to killing me in terms of intensity. We have launched one new product in the last couple of weeks that I have a LOT of responsibility for and will be launching the biggest new undertaking since the company itself took flight back in 1999. I have major responsibility for getting it ready.


I hope to get back to a regular posting schedule. I don't like not writing and I am not going to let the blog slip away. I just have to be more disciplined and take time that I spend watching TV to decompress at night to generate content for the blog.

Keep checking back. More to come.

No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

This week in the world of no one.

This week I am learning an advanced software testing package as part of my new job responsibilities. I have never really worked in an information technology role so this is all new to me. I am a bright guy, but a LOT of this is beyond me. Things like custom scripting and regression testing are beyond my current skill set. I am ramping up quickly, but trying to learn an entire new profession ini 5 days is like... well, trying to learn an entire new profession in 5 days. It is as daunting as it sounds.
Some of the people in the class are very senior programmers. One interesting thing I found is that I am finishing the exercises a lot faster than they are and with few if any mistakes. I couldn't figure this out until this afternoon. It turns out being an IT dummy is actually helping me in these situations. I follow the instructions in the book to the letter and make no mistakes, they try and do fancy IT stuff and ignore the interface and screw it up. Being dumb in this instance is cool. :-)
No 1 of Consequence

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sometimes being a parent sucks

While I had planned on doing a lot of reading over the last week or so, I truthfully didn’t get much done at all. I spent a majority of my free time, doing laundry, changing diapers and trying to comfort my sick little baby. I have three children and while they have all been sick at any given time, neither of the other boys has EVER been as sick as the baby was this week. Between the vomiting, diarrhea, trips to the emergency room for IV fluids, and about a million diaper changes I was probably as scared as I have ever been for one of my children. He just didn’t seem to be getting any better at all. Thankfully it the illness seems to be behind him at this point.
I have a newfound respect and appreciation for people who have a chronically or catastrophically ill child. I cannot imagine having to endure that permanently. The powerless feelings of not being able to help or in some cases even comfort the little guy are terribly painful. The thoughts, however brief, that we might lose him aged me ten years. Having to live with that feeling full time would be crippling to me. I can’t imagine how parents survive it.

Some lowlights of the last week:

I had to hold my little guy down while they gave him an IV. Since he is a bit of a chubby baby they had trouble finding a vein. So, they had to stick him three times. One of the times they jiggled the needle around inside him a bit to try and get the vein. He screamed. He screamed a lot. It wasn’t pleasant.

That of course, came in a close second to having to pin him down while they gave him a catheter to get a clean urine sample. Now, I held him for his circumcision, but this was something completely different. I can’t imagine something more unpleasant. He just cried and cried. Thankfully it was brief, but if I never see the inside of an emergency room with one of my children again I will be OK with it.

Overall it was probably one of the worst experiences of my life and I am drained just thinking about. I will tell you this though, coming home last night and seeing him smiling and giggling while splashing in the bathtub was one of the more uplifting experiences I have had in a long time.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

4 books I intend to finish before Feb 12

Why on Earth is February 12th the goal? Well, I have accepted a role on the global management team of my company and I am starting some intense training on that date. After that, things are going to be a whirlwind with multiple trips to Scotland on business, countless hours working, and very little time to focus on any leisure reading outside of news and keeping up with my various fantasy baseball teams. So this is the goal I have set for myself.

I have a legitimate shot to finish three out of the four, mainly because I have already started reading three of them. The 4th is over 1000 pages long and apparently the beginning of a rather intricate tale.

So let’s begin the latest installment of what is No 1 Reading:

Watchdogs of Democracy? The Waning Washington Press Corps and How it has Failed the Public. By Helen Thomas

This work is extremely critical of the White House press corps and the press in general, essentially accusing them of being complicit in the abrogation of our constitutional right to know what the hell is going on with our government. She accuses them of being fearful of falling out of favor with a bully of a White House and not asking the tough questions. Helen is a long time Washington correspondent and has been continually snubbed by the President and his handlers during press conferences because of her desire to find the truth for the people.

Why am I reading this? Well, I have been making a similar argument for a long time. No Best Man of Consequence works in the media and I often challenge him and the industry by proxy when I see what I feel are significant injustices taking place in the world. He always comes back at me with the “people don’t care about anything anymore argument,” which I partially agree with and we usually move on to something else. (I have a partial post about our distracted society and how we all suffer for it, but that is a different discussion for a different day.) Anyway, he usually has me outclassed in the argument because I don’t have anything empirical to back me up when we talk about it, so I am trying to broaden my mind in this particular area.

Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book – By Phil Gordon

This is considered by many to be the best poker book ever written. I am only a couple of chapters in and am already enthralled by his simple and concise style. Annoyed and No Brother both recommended this book very highly and since I respect their opinions and their poker abilities I definitely want to finish this book.

Why am I reading this? I want to be a better player. I do well in my home game here in GA and I do well online. I, hopefully, am going to be in Atlantic City in late February and am definitely going to be in AC in early April and I want to be at the top of my game. Digesting the information in this book and integrating it into my personal strategy of play is one good way I can do that.

Now I Can Die In Peace – Bill Simmons

Anyone who reads this blog knows I am a big fan of Bill Simmons. I read anything he writes and I enjoy about 80% of it. The odd thing about my liking this guy is that he is a huge Red Sox fan and this book is a collection of articles and associated commentary leading up to the Red Sox defeat of the Yankees in 2004 and their World Series championship. I have been reading the book for awhile and I am really enjoying it. I am planning a detailed post related to it because it offers such a unique perspective to a Yankees fan. Also, for a Red Sox fan Simmons has a very good understanding of the mentality of Yankees fans even though he calls rooting for the Yankees the same as “rooting for the house in blackjack.”

Why am I reading this? You have to support people who have entertained you that much in your life. Even though the subject matter is not something I am terribly interested in the writing is good and I have been entertained throughout.

Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin

This book is the first in a significant series. HBO is turning it into a TV series. When they made the announcement, No Accountant of Consequence, who is an expert in this particular genre, was very excited. He highly recommended it so I picked it up.

Why am I reading it? The recommendation is a big reason, plus HBO’s de facto endorsement of the content carries a lot of weight with me. Of all 4 books I have going right now though, I will probably not get this one finished by my deadline.


Some quick hits not related to what I am reading.

I have about 10 posts in draft and this causes me to be significantly irritated with myself. I really want to write more, but I won’t just throw anything up and a lot of the topics I want to cover require research because as most of you know, talking out of my ass is something I don’t really like to do.

Pitchers and catchers report to spring training imminently. (Feb 14) I am very excited for the coming baseball season.

Work has taken a lot of interesting twists and turns this year. This is my 24th month with the company and if you had asked me in my 4th month if this is the way it was going to go I would have told you that drugs were bad and you should really get your head checked.

Projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea from your almost one year old baby is not really fun. There is just something about a very sick little baby that is especially pathetic. There is also an acute feeling of powerlessness that happens when your child is sick. My little man has the flu right now. He can’t keep anything down and he is just miserable. It just sucks that there is nothing we can really do for him.

Disney World is an incredible amount of fun, but while it may be the most wonderful place on Earth, it isn’t even the 1000th most relaxing place in Florida. I still have blisters on my feet.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Last Day of the Month

The last day of the month is an interesting time at my office. My company is doing very well financially and while it hasn't been as much fun for me lately as it was when I started, this is a great place to work.

The last day of the month though is about one thing at any company that is driven by the sales team. Booking revenue. The sales team is a bunch of young hungry guys and they walk in the last day prepared for battle. The office smells like toasting bagels in the morning and catered whatever around noon. If you walk over to the sales bullpen you can feel the buzz. The phones are ringing or keypads are being pounded. Voices are raised as the team passionately tried to close deals. Everytime someone walks to the board to put up a sale there are high fives. It isn't a boiler room environement per se, but there is that kind of a feel. The energy is burning in the room. Cans of Red Bull are pounded as the day goes on to keep energy levels up. The rest of the month, sales styles clash and tensions run high but on the last day of the month, when team bonuses and records are in reach there is one goal. As headsets are tossed aside and beers are opened at the end of the day, the sales team has almost always crossed the finish line victorious.

No 1 of Consequence

Friday, January 26, 2007

Funny Commercial

I can't endorse Kyocera products, being as I haven't used any, but this is pretty funny.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Out of the carnage... Life will find a way

This is the story of six fish. The story of six little fishies that had the fortitude, the guile and the will to live. Six fish that bucked the odds, apparently hid under something and survived the Christmas carnage. Just the other day, when the winter weather here in Georgia abated and the temperatures climbed into the 70's I heard a rousing cry from the kitchen. I walked in to see what the ruckus was about and there, in my beloved koi pond were six survivors.

I didn't believe it at first. There had been a rumor that one survived, but I did not have personal visual confirmation. Then, just the other day, the six fish that survived the apocalypse showed themselves and proved once again that life will find a way. Turns out Jeff Goldblum was right.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Credit where it is due

Our internet access at home is completely screwed right now. We have Bellsouth DSL and for whatever reason we cannot access any websites save the Bellsouth home page. This, of course, is a significant problem, because both No Wife and I are wired people. We communicate with friends and family through the internet. We get our news from the internet. I work for an internet company and when I work from home I work on the internet. We are wired and right now we are disconnected. Our issues began yesterday at some point in the early afternoon. After I got home from basketball practice I called Bellsouth customer service and a rep named Jim spent over 2 hours on the phone with me trying different fixes. He was incredibly patient and extremely knowledgable. He was also reasonable and logical. We had a disagreement about the source of our DSL nightmare, but when I took him through the sequence of events that clearly laid the fault at the feet of Bellsouth he did not get belligerent or try to obfuscate. He simply said, "I have exhausted things on my end. Let's set up an appointment for a technician to come out to you." We set a time and hopefully things will be fixed on Thursday morning. It might have been the best customer service experience of my life. So I say bravo Bellsouth. Bravo!!

UPDATE: Apparently, it was a dns error that could have been fixed over the phone. I still give credit to Bellsouth, because the guy who came in fixed it immediately, but damn 2 hours on the phone for something that should have been a 30 second fix. Ouch!!

No 1 of Consequence

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bad luck in Atlanta

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know I am a HUGE fan of the Georgia Aquarium. We had season passes last year and would definitely consider them again in the future. I can't say enough about the place as detailed in my original review here. Unfortunately two of the most popular animals in the aquarium have passed on in a relatively short amount of time. Gaspar the Beluga Whale and Ralph the whale shark have both died in the last month. Gaspar had been significantly ill before he ever came to the aquarium so his death was not a huge surprise, but Ralph's death was sudden and has thrown the aquarium staff for a loop. Here are a couple of pictures I took of them last year.

Bye big guys. I'm gonna miss you.
Gaspar Ralph

No 1 of Consequence

Friday, January 12, 2007

They're dead to me #1

In an homage to my man Annoyed and his "People I can do without series." I am starting a posting series of my own, called "They're dead to me." This term originated in my vernacular when Chilis took their tuna steak sandwich off the menu. This pissed me off to no end and I have only eaten there under protest since. However, since Chilis being dead to me is old news we will dedicate this initial post to another restaurant that crossed the line.

The death of a fun restaurant franchise.

Every chain restaurant is basically the same. You walk in, are seated, place a quick drink order, order appetizers, are served appetizers, order food, are served appetizers, eat appetizers, are served food, eat food, order dessert, are served dessert, eat dessert, get check, pay check, leave. This happens, obviously, in varying degrees. Aside from menu items and style of food, there is very little variation to this. In fancier restaurants this is spread out over a couple of hours. In cheaper places you can be in and out in 30 minutes or less.

One way for a restaurant to differentiate itself is with its branding or style. The Cheesecake Factory, for example, has developed a concept that drives people to order dessert. How can you go to a restaurant called The Cheesecake Factory and not order a slice of cheesecake? Higher end places are carried by their name, Jean Georges, Nobu.

Another restaurant that formerly had a significant differentiator is the Rainforest Café. The food was decent, as good as any other chain, but the atmosphere was something special. The incredible fish tanks and décor, reflecting the sights and sounds of rainforests including animatronic animals and mock thunderstorms made it a really fun place to go. It was pricy, but not ridiculous and it was worth an extra couple of bucks an entrée when you factored in the user experience.

Last week No Family of Consequence dined at the Rainforest in Orlando, and while the décor, staff, and food were what they always were. The prices had skyrocketed. An average price of over 25.00 an entrée, 2.50 for a soda and 7.99 for a kids meal tells me that the restaurant is dying and in an effort to save itself it is raising prices to try and suck as much money as possible out of its guests one last time.

It is disappointing that sometime corporate America can be so uncreative. I love tilapia, as we know from this post, but 26.99 for a tilapia dinner at Rainforest means I will never be darkening their door again. Cute frog mascot and nice fish tanks or not, they are officially dead to me. Never to be spoken of again.

No 1 of Consequence